Light and Bright

With three prior major renovations under their belts, Lane and Scott McGarrah knew what they were up against when they came across this 1950s rancher in Homewood. With an engineering background and an artist’s eye, Scott began the task of rethinking the original plans of the typical closed in rancher into one with an open, spacious floorplan. Their master plan eliminated the barriers of interior walls so that each area flows seamlessly from one to another, achieving easy and transition. Without physical walls to break-up the space, the arrangement of family pieces, yard sale finds and antiques, create three distinct living areas that function equally well as one.

Lane solicited the advice of Scarlett Gargis, a “dear friend” who, as she says, “has a good eye, ” in the selection of colors, fabrics, and accent pieces. Lane chose one color for the walls, trim, and ceilings in the main living areas to create a harmonious feel without the distraction of contrasting colors. Bringing even more airiness to the plan, the McGarrahs replaced the original, blocky front door with 8-foot glass and wood French doors and glass and wood sidelights topped off by a 15-inch transom. An abundance of windows and very few window treatments ensure that the expansive space is bright and filled with light.

“Instead of tearing down, I like refurbishing things. The original builder did an amazing job — true quality work.”  –Scott McGarrah

“Scott was adamant about increasing the height of the original ceilings, ” says Lane. They raised the roof in the main living area so ceilings could reach 12 feet. Accenting their dramatic height are pine beams and spruce planking.

The kitchen branches off the great room. Scott, an accomplished woodworker, did some of the work himself, including the hood over the stove and the island.  Built with whitewashed pine leftover from the basement flooring, the hood is supported by two intricately carved corbels that Lane found in Hannah Antiques.

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The couple wanted the cabinetry and accents to resemble antique finds rather than typical kitchen cabinetry. “Lane loves her Alabama white marble kitchen counters and the richness it has achieved over time, ” says Scott.

Another major change included the original master bedroom (page 26 of the March/April 2012 issue, on newsstands now). The re-do combined two bedrooms in order to create one luxurious suite. A tray ceiling was strategically added to create additional ceiling height. The space flows uninterrupted by traditional hinged doors, but when needed, pocket doors between the bedroom and the bathroom can be drawn closed.

A gleaming white clawfoot tub resides under a series of casement windows that are just high enough to provide privacy but still allow plenty of light to pour into the room.

Lane says that despite the inconveniences, they love the process of renovating, “Once my house is done I start looking for another project.”  However, after a recent family wedding and her retirement from teaching, Lane is just beginning to enjoy her new schedule and thinks they may be content to make this house “home” for a little while longer.


subcontractor and site supervisor: DAVID REEVES 205.365.0376 paint: main living areas and master bedroom: BENJAMIN MOORE # 941 dining room: chandelier: INTERIORS MARKET AT PEPPER PLACE 205.323.2817 • rug: HANNA ANTIQUES 205.323.6036 • kitchen: cabinets: CLASSIC VIEW CABINETS, TWIN CONSTRUCTION, INC 205.802.3920 • den: sofa: BIRMINGHAM WHOLESALE FURNITURE 205.322.1687 • coffee table base: FRONTERA 205.320.1900 • ceiling: RIVER BOTTOM PINE 205.914.4572 • exterior house paint: GARDEN URN, MARTHA STEWART FOR LOWES 205.942.2223  • bathroom: tub: FERGUSON BATH, KITCHEN AND LIGHTING 205.254.3454 • light fixture: THREE SHEETS 205.871.2337 • bedroom: roman shades: AT HOME 205.879.3510 •

Sally Herring

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